The Economy Collaboration Part 2 - Ready-to-Use Resources

As promised, Dan Haggerty returns to talk about additional resources related to coverage of the economy:

In my last post I wrote about the continuing need the public has for information about the economy and the recession. I also gave you some highlights of the video widget PBS Interactive will provide through a project that seeks to help stations meet those information needs: Public Media's Economy Story project (also known as the Economy Collaboration).

Well that's not all!

For the low, low price of $00.00 you can get much, much more!

The Economy Story project offers you a wealth of free online resources you can use to greatly increase economic coverage on your website. Widgets, RSS feeds, maps, audio, video and much more are available to you through one website: The Knowledge Network.

Here are a few of my favorite resources currently being offered.

Patchwork Nation

The NewsHour has partnered with The Christian Science Monitor and over a dozen stations to report on the economy from a local perspective. This project features an interactive map and companion blog that pairs in-depth local stories with expansive visual data. There are several tools you can take advantage of through this project. You can embed the map or a widget on your site, you can get webpages with your county's data or The NewsHour is happy to even provide you with your very own Patchwork Nation site. This is a compelling way to look past the rudimentary concept of red-states and blue-states to identify the complex connections between local communities. New data is regularly added to the map and the bloggers and reporters are working hard to provide the stories behind those numbers.

Ask Your Lawmaker Widget
This is a great tool from Capitol News Connection that allows your users to get some answers from their lawmakers. (Say for instance, on questions about financial regulatory reform or economic stimulus efforts.) The public is free to ask questions of any legislator and then vote that question up or down. CNC reporters are then tasked with tracking down answers to the most popular questions and reporting back to the online community through this tool. With a little promotion this widget could become an extremely powerful conduit for your local community to voice their economic concerns to their legislators.  It can be customized to your state and a specific topic, such as the economy.

Marketplace's Whiteboard Video series
Have you ever wondered what a Flash-Trade is, or what the difference is between a Treasury bond and a Treasury bill? Well now you can get an explanation from somebody who knows these things inside and out. With a whiteboard, a marker and plain simple language Marketplace senior editor Paddy Hirsch breaks down the complex financial terms you will be hearing in the news. These videos are packaged into an easy-to-use, customizable widget you can quickly add to any webpage.

These are just a few of the extensive resources currently offered. New tools are being added regularly so please visit the Knowledge Network every week or so to check out the new tools and connections that are available. We will do our best to keep you updated when new things come in.

Many of you have already made great efforts to cover the economy on a local level. These tools are a simple and quick way to maximize those efforts. You can continue to show your local community that you can be counted on to stick with these sort of vital issues.

The partners in this Collaboration are extremely eager to help you add these tools to your site so please don't hesitate to reach out to them if you're interested. This includes me. I am here to help.

So lets get started. The public is counting on us.

Dan Haggerty

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